Director of Spain's Men's National Soccer Team Albert Luque arrives to the court in Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, to declare 24 October 2023, via video-conference, before the judge in the inquiry against former Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) chief Luis Rubiales over accusations of sexual assault and coercion after the kiss with Spain's forward Jenni Hermoso following the team's win in the Women's World Cup. EFE/ Enric Fontcuberta

Spain men’s soccer team director admits approaching Hermoso but denies pressuring her

Madrid/Barcelona, Oct 24 (EFE).- Spain’s men’s soccer team director Albert Luque on Tuesday admitted trying to talk to forward Jenni Hermoso during a trip to Ibiza organized to celebrate their World Cup victory, but denied allegations that he tried to pressure her.

Luque appeared before the National Court judge Francisco de Jorge by videoconference from Terrasa court in Barcelona as a suspect in the sexual assault and coercion case against the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales.

The judge is investigating the alleged pressure Jenni Hermoso came under from Rubiales’ inner circle to downplay the kiss he gave her after the Fifa Women’s World Cup final in Australia on August 20.

Director of Spain’s Men’s National Soccer Team Albert Luque arrives to the court in Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, to declare 24 October 2023. EFE/ Enric Fontcuberta

During his statement, Luque denied having pressured Hermoso and said that he wanted to speak with her on his own initiative because they had a friendly relationship, legal sources told EFE.

Luque, who worked as Rubiales’ advisor before assuming the post of men’s soccer team director, only answered questions from his lawyer during his half-hour long appearance.

He explained that he tried to speak with Hermoso in Ibiza, but that she did not meet with him, so he spoke with a friend who was accompanying her.

Luque said it was a cordial meeting and that the three met to talk the following day, although in the end the meeting did not take place.

The men’s soccer team director was the last of the four people being investigated to testify after former women’s team coach Jorge Vilda, RFEF marketing director Rubén Rivera and former RFEF president Luis Rubiales.

All of them have denied pressuring Hermoso.

Several witnesses, including the Spain men’s team coach Luis de la Fuente, former RFEF director of communication Pablo García-Cuervo, soccer player Laia Codina, and the president of the Spain’s Women’s Soccer Committee Rafael del Amo will testify in November.

Hermoso’s friend and former RFEF marketing director Rubén Rivera – who was also in Ibiza during the trip – will be summoned by the judge on Nov. 30, given the discrepancies in their statements. EFE